There is nothing quite so disheartening as the realisation that your content simply isn’t resonating with your audience. Particularly when you are trying to focus on retaining and strengthening relationships with existing customers – customers that were engaged enough to purchase your products or services but that you can almost feel slipping through your fingers.

The fact is that customer brand loyalty is a complex subject to grasp, but we do know that keeping your audience engaged is an essential part of the recipe. Research from Rosetta revealed that engaged customers not only buy 90% more frequently, they spend 60% more per transaction and are five times more likely to indicate that a brand is the only one they would buy from in the future. Allowing engagement to take a nosedive whilst you idly sit by simply isn’t an option for the successful business.

There are a wide variety of factors that could be the reason your content’s losing engagement – are you making these five common mistakes?

1. You sell when you need to give

A classic rookie error we see all the time – a business is keen to get cracking with content but forgets the underlying principle of engagement: think relationships, not marketing. When you consider the best relationships you have in your life, I’d wager you’d pick people you trust or those that entertain you – not the ones that try and push you into doing something or blatantly show that they want something from you.

Engagement is all about building relationships and understanding that the purchase doesn’t signify the end of the relationship, it is the beginning. Focus on content that promotes interaction i.e. it adds value, answers questions or communicates interesting new titbits of information or an innovative take on things. Having a sense of humour and turning up the charm a snatch can’t hurt, but remember to bury your sales-y self deep.

2. You’re thinking quantity, not quality

Of course, you want to churn out enough content to remain relevant in your customers’ minds; but sometimes, less is more. It’s all too easy to get carried away, bombarding your customers with emails, Tweets and Facebook posts, but in actual fact, this can get old fast for your audience. Particularly if your content isn’t delivering the value it should.

In fact, earlier this year, media agency Havas discovered that 60% of 375,000 people across 33 countries believed that the content brands currently create is ‘poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver’. A damning verdict, indeed. In order to engage your audience, focus on quality, not quantity, and make it a priority to understand what content works for your audience and where the opportunities lie. Consistency is key when it comes to posting content, but value trumps all.

3. You’re not credible

There are two ways you want to hit your target audience with your content – emotionally and logically. The emotional side of a consumer is usually the side that drives those ‘I want’ impulses and grabs their attention, but the logical brain will most likely to step in – particularly if you’re selling B2B, working with people that have budgets to stick to and expenses to justify. Credibility is key to ticking the logic box so be sure to include some cold, hard data in your content to back up your claims. In short, put your money where your mouth is.

4. You’re not listening

The bottom line of effective and engaging content marketing is to understand your audience inside out. Forget what you think you know and what you think they want, make sure you ask and base your strategy on their answers.

Market research is the foundation to any successful business – how many times have the contestants on The Apprentice failed on a task because they chose to ignore the comments from their focus groups in the misguided thought that they knew better? Social media, analytics and any other way you can uncover where people are coming from, what’s working and what opportunities are out there are essential tools to the process. It might take longer than it does to create the content, but the right research will maximise your chances of engagement success.

5. You’re not making enough effort

You can’t expect to conjure engagement out of thin air, yet how many brands do you deal with personally where the interactions are anything more than average? Sure, there are a few that do it well and there are some that are just awful… but the vast majority of brands we interact with are just so-so.

True engagement comes with effort, not the simple creation of a social page and mindless updates. Look for ways you can create a two-way dialogue with your content and go that extra mile by responding to comments, questions and grievances. This is how you build a relationship; this is how you build engagement.

Of course, it’s all too easy to understand how creating and promoting engaging content can take a back seat when you’re trying to run a business at the same time. Why not get in touch and find out how we can help?